The European Parliament has officially launched its drive to increase awareness and participation at the 2014 elections. This campaign will see four phases that are hoped to engage all citizens across the EU. The first phase was launched in September with a video titled “Act. React. Impact”, which explains the Parliament’s powers and how it affects people living in the EU.
Turnout at previous European elections has slowly declined from 61% in 1979 to only 43% in 2009. The European Parliament is determined to ensure that there is an increase in turnout at next year’s elections – with turnout at only 16.9% in Slovakia in 2009 there is much work to do. Turnout amongst young Europeans has traditionally been low with only 29% of young people casting a vote at the 2009 elections. However the European Parliament has made the case that this time the elections are even more important for citizens. This is because the Lisbon Treaty stipulates that the appointment of the President of the European Commission must take into account the political make-up of the Parliament. As head of the EU’s executive branch, the President has a great deal of influence over the policies implemented at a European level.
As part of its drive to engage young voters, the European Youth Forum will be launching its European election campaign on 15th October at the Parliament. The launch will allow MEPs to sign the ‘Love Youth Future’ pledges – an 11-point plan of action on youth for the EU over the next Parliamentary session from 2014-2019.
The European Youth Forum welcomes the new campaign from the European Parliament and its efforts to engage young voters. Young voters must be provided with the relevant information about the role of the Parliament in order to be empowered to participate in the elections. Furthermore, through similar initiatives such as Love Youth Future and the League of Young Voters, the Forum hopes to ensure that youth issues are a priority in the 2014 elections.